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Cardinal Francis Arinze


Thanks for the brief on Cardinal Arinze.  Keep up your good work!
'Osu K. Okoro

Chido Nwangwu,

As always, you have done a very fine job using your exceptional skills as a journalist. 

There  are no qualifications for your essay on Cardinal Arinze. 

Bernard Lloyd <>


Once again, you have come through like a champ.  I was unaware of Cardinal Arinze.  Thank you.

Bill Alexander
Youth Today
Washington, DC



Why we disagree with President Clinton's "use" of people, Blacks

First, Clinton's lying about Rwanda was disgraceful.  When in Africa he stated that 'We all didn't know what was going on' we were was shocked because we believe he knew very well what was going to happen and did nothing-- then lied and lied about it.  He is a disgrace and uses Black people and his friends whenever he needs to get out of one of his many jams. In our view, he stands for nothing!  Whatever the poll says he says; whether he believes in it or not.  He uses people to help only himself.  We are sorry that your publication doesn't care and understand this fact.

It is also sad that there is so little news about what is going on in Africa. seems to care more about keeping Bill Clinton in office as President of the U.S instead of letting people know what is really going on in Africa and all over the world we can only say that we hope others will speak out and try to awaken the United States to the fact that there are other countries out there besides the U.S.

Finally, we commend the PBS' Frontline news investigation program for a very interesting edition on Rwanda and US policy sometime ago.  Maybe you should watch it.

by Pat & Sally O'Leary
Minneapolis, MN

Nigeria's New Government

We have just been bought

I am appalled by the analogy of imagining Obasanjo as a come-back kid.  May I ask some of our readers how and what made this man to be a come-back kid?  First, I still believe that those who voted for him made major mistakes which only time will tell. 

I predict that his leadership will bring more hardship to most people in our motherland.  For those who may question my position, recall that Obasanjo's leadership as a military dictator in the 1970s was a total nightmare.

Also, the man has this cowardly ability to avoid risky tasks when the going gets tough.

On the issue of ethics, I wonder how Obasanjo will do in terms of telling the masses how he made his money.

I will vote for any person who will stand tough against the army generals to make sure that most of our money these people looted is returned.  They must be made to pay for the havoc and mayhem they have caused the nation, especially economically.

Dozie Offiaeli <>

'Ekwueme is not a good politician' 

It was with considerable interest that I read Charles Maduka's article on, titled "The Leader Nigeria May Never Have."

I was compelled to contribute the following: A distinction needs to be made between the qualities it takes to make a successful leader of a democratic country, and a technocrat or bureaucrat.  Those who win the top ticket in a political process in any country, and go on to have successful terms are not necessarily intellectuals or the most well educated; indeed the instincts it takes to make a good politician is not dependent on intellect, witness Ronald Reagan, by all accounts a successful president, but nonetheless an "intellectual lightweight".   Indeed more emerging nations have been ruined by their rather well educated and learned elite who lacked political acumen. 

A good leader has to learn the art of necessary compromise, an ability to work with friends and foe, a kind of charm if you will.  It is quite possible for a man with this kind of qualities to surround himself or herself with people like Dr. Alex Ekweme.  Ekweme is not a good politician, this would be a great handicap for him, because in a democratic order, no matter how great your ideas, you may not be able to implement them without the necessary political skills.  I recommend Ekweme for a ministerial position where his skills could be put to better use.

by Femi Olarewaju

The Transition Process

Too much to hope for free, fair elections in Nigeria?


I will simply qualify your article Too much to hope for free, fair elections in Nigeria? with "a rolling stone needs no turn." 

Your article is well tailored... Food for thought for our people. 

Chris Alaekwe.

How Money, retired army generals and unprincipled politicians, have turned Nigeria's Elections into a buyer's bazaar 

Mr. Nwangwu's write-up on the subject points to the need to warn Nigerians against complacency and sulky indifference about the on-going transition to civilian rule in the country.  Yes, money, former military officers and unprincipled politicians have returned, and have the potential to turn Nigeria's elections into "...a buyer's bazaar"; but the elctions will (hopefully) be based on votes to be cast by the generality of Nigerians.  "Money, retired ary generals and unprincipled politicians..." are only a tiny subset of the Nigerian population and do not necessarily determine the outcome of fair elections, unless concerned Nigerians, like me and you, remain indifferent.

I have it on authority of experience from active participation in the politics of the Second Republic that nothing is superior to active involvement and effective leadership by trustworthy and deddicated ordinary Nigerians in mobilising Nigerian voters and turning the table against merely wealthy and otherwise powerful politicians.

Sitting on the fence and sulking by the rest of us is all such politicians need to truck off power and misuse it again!

My recommendation?  Constructive engagement with the system (the way the progressive forces did in wrestling the late Gen. Sani Abacha regime) and positive involvement in the process of mass mobilisation and debate over social issues.

The future can only be better if we pool ideas and resources through active engagement!

Boye Agunbiade 
University of Iowa

What an interesting piece!  This is the type of material we need. Personally, I am very much encouraged by your progressive outlook.

by Dr. Aloy Chife

Nigeria's Presidential Elections: Is it just for the Highest Bidder
by Chido  Nwangwu

The West has an insatiable desire for oil under its conditions. Nigeria must conform to those conditions until there is a major paradigm shift. Needless to say, Nigeria could be the force or part of the force that starts the shift.

Anything is possible.


Thanks for writing such a thoughtful piece about the meaning of Martin Luther King's example for current times.  He was killed when I was 9 years old, and my Dad met him when they both were at Boston University. 

He is a true hero of mine.  It was wonderful to find what I had hoped for when I went to your sites to find and use it as Column of the Day (January 18, 1999)

Thank you,
Kurt Ehrenberg

Dictator's dark days; our future

I read the USAfrica special report titled 'Revelations from the late Dictator's dark days (part 1)' on your website and in your Vol.5 #14, December 23, 1998 edition gave all of us a good insight into the evil ways of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.  My only regret is that many of those people who worked with him to intimidate, kill and brutalize Nigerians are in many sectors of the Nigerian military regime and the Nigerian society.

If the rule of law is applied without fear of favor in our country, it will be a better place.

Etulafa Imisan 
Lagos, Nigeria

The late Gen. Abacha was a product of the Nigerian society.  He terrorized us, only because we allowed him to do.  There are many collaborators of the sordid Abacha regime who preach democracy.  It's terrible.

Ikejiofor Obinna 
Baltimore, MD

Oji's Nigeria's Federalism

In the USAfrica Nigeria Report column, Mazi Aggrey K. Oji "making Federalism work better for Nigeria" argued a very important point about overall, I think that he cited a critical problem: Nigeria's federalism is overburdened by layers of bureaucracy and wasteful expenditure.  The issue of senatorial representation is one good example.  We copy the U.S models of government but leave the more useful aspects.

Abimbola Johnson 
Dallas, Texas

Philo's point I enjoyed Philo Okonye's column.  I was particularly touched by the letter of the woman who wrote in about her being 2 months pregnant and not being sure who the father of her baby is.

As we, the African and African-American women, pursue material things, we should all have God in our lives.  Many of our women are doing unspeakable things.  I could not imagine such an abomination occurring back home.  The woman would have brought shame to her entire family.  I commend Philo for her excellent comments and words of encouragement to her.

Cecilia Ofiagho 
Los Angeles, California

Ofari's right on the mark

Ofari Hutchinson was right on the mark with his insightful column on the 'Five Dilemmas of Black Leaders' (USAfrica, December 23, 1998, page A5).

His diagnoses is accurate.  It is refreshing to read from a brother who also gives us, as Black folks, our share of the blame.  Around me here in nation's capitol, I've seen many some Black leaders carry on in ways which show some disconnect from our every day reality.  The likes of Ofari bring them back to line.

Arthur B.  Brown 
Washington DC

USAfrica columnist Ofari Hutchinson forgot that the major problem of Black leaders is that they are largely funded by interests outside our community.  We all know that a few of them who get their funds from within speak their views more freely.

Overall, I think that Mr. Hutchinson made excellent points on the issue.

Greg Thompson, Jr. 
Dallas, Texas

I commend Chido Nwangwu for an insightful commentary  'Blacks, Clinton and Republican Barr's meeting with White supremacy group'  (Vol.  5#14, December 23, 1998).  Congressman Bob Barr's conduct ad meeting with the segregationist Council of Conservative Citizens exposes the controversial Georgia congressman for the company he keeps: a friend of those who hate Blacks, Jews, recent immigrants and oppose interracial contacts and marriages.  Also, Prof. Alan Dershowitz should be commended for pursuing the issue.

My question is this: if a U.S congressman fraternizes with such groups as well as Republican majority leader Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, what assurances do we have they will be fair to all of us on issues of shared national interest?

While they judge Clinton, they should also be judged.

Sharon Thomas 
Houston, Texas

Soyinka panacea is good...

The army and rulers of Nigeria should read Prof. Wole Soyinka's essay, Redesigning Nigeria (see full report at  Excerpts appeared in our print editions, Vol.  5#13 and 14 in the USAfrica Forum page).  Soyinka's message is crucial.  They should not overlook it, as they do most things.  They should also be judged.

Chike Okoronkwo 
Los Angeles, California

I have always found Soyinka very brilliant man.  The issues he raised in the essay are germane to Nigeria's present and future.  Gen. Abubakar seems in too much hurry to just hand over; he needs to address the structure of Nigeria's federalism.  Mazi Oji's contributions on the definition of that structure are also valid.

The best ideas inside a terrible structure creates major problems.

Bartholomew Isiguzo 
Chicago, Illinois

...No; Soyinka should hold it

Why should Nigeria be redesigned when the followers of Prof. Soyinka will not allow Nigeria, as it is constituted to work, uninterrupted for a year?  I am tired of critics without any experience in how governments work preaching about what we should do.

Bello Ahmad 
Abuja, Nigeria

Cynthia Tucker column in USAfrica The Newspaper, "Who knew the Republicans would be so stupid' (Vol.  5#14) is an outstanding contribution to the issues.  Her commentary about the Republicans' agenda to impeach, by all possible means, and willfully push President Bill Clinton out of office is one of the best commentaries that I've read on the impeachment debate. 

I must also state that Clinton caused his own problems by her dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.  But the American people want him to stay in office as an excellent manager of their economy.

Those partisan politicians should respect that fact - especially after he defeated them in two national elections.

Felicia Wilson 
Half Moon Bay, California

I am embarrassed and gravely disappointed in the way the decision turned out in the fight between the African fighter and champion Quartey and world champion Oscar Delahoya. It appears that even if he was not knocked down in the last round, he would have still lost the fight. 

Quartey is and will always be a champion he should hold his head high and behave as one.  I am  gravely disappointed.

Raymond Smith

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